Place-based investing has been a hot topic in impact investing in recent years. It’s an acknowledgement that not all communities have benefited equally from the past decade’s economic gains, and that targeted investment can help revitalize areas that have been left behind. With recent federal Opportunity Fund legislation, even more money is pouring into marginalized communities.
But what does it mean to invest in community? And how effective are current approaches, particularly those that seek to help distressed communities? For all the recent talk in impact circles of community engagement and sharing of power, most community investment is still top-down, decided by well-meaning individuals and organizations that channel financial returns to the same wealthy class. At best, these local investments create jobs and improve quality of life in the communities they target. But they do little to create wealth in communities that lack it or address a fundamentally inequitable system.
There is a different approach emerging, however, that draws from a long history of bottom-up, grassroots local investing, where community members not only have a say in where investments are made, but can invest small sums themselves and benefit financially from the revitalization of their communities. This live webinar and Q&A features several cutting-edge thinkers and practitioners in place-based investing, and explores the different definitions and approaches to community investments, identifying the shortcomings to traditional models and laying out some new alternatives.